Engineers and technicians in NASA Dryden's Flight Loads Laboratory recently completed a series of load tests on a wing structure for AeroVironment's Global Observer high-altitude, long-endurance prototype aircraft. The team designed and built a specialized test fixture to apply up to 100 percent of the maximum dynamic loads the 175-foot-long wing would expect to encounter in flight. The wing tips of the to the modular, all-composite test wing deflected up to 32 feet when the maximum loads were applied. The tests were designed to validate the quality of AeroVironment's design, its analysis of flexible and lightweight structures and the resulting design tradeoffs made to maximize wing strength while minimizing weight, a critical balance in achieving reliable flight endurance. The Global Observer is being developed by the firm under a joint capability technology demonstration program funded by the Department of Defense and several other government agencies.
(Photo courtesy AeroVironment, Inc.)
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Global Observer Wing Completes Loads Testing at NASA Dryden